Shredded: A Sports and Fitness Body Horror Anthology ed. by Eric Raglin

Shredded is an anthology of body horror stories that are centred around sports and fitness. The stories are a diverse set that cover a lot of different sports and fitness activities (including wrestling, american football, going to the gym, swimming, hockey, yoga, and gymnastics) and a range of ways in which the body horror plays out, helps and hinders. This really stands out, as you never know what kind of story you’re going to get next.

I really enjoyed what body horror has to say about sports and fitness, and vice versa. In particular, ideas around having the ideal body for your activity and the lengths people will go to, as well as more monstrous and uncontrollable elements of bodies pushed to their limit. I found both the stories featuring trans men particularly interesting, with one playing off ideas around T but also bear culture amongst gay men, and the other a water-based body horror that at the same time showed quite a sweet instance of a trans guy finding a place in a swimming team. Body horror has plenty to say about different kinds of bodies, but also about who finds a place within sports and fitness, which is something a lot of the stories address in some way or another.

Overall, this is an impressive anthology that will make you wince and laugh, and has a lot to say about the relationships between bodies and physical activity at the same time. Sports and fitness is not a topic I would usually look for fiction about and Shredded was a chance to see that the horror side of the topic isn’t confined to the jock getting killed near the start of a horror story.